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Author: Thomas Howland

Red Sox – Rays Series Preview

Right now the Red Sox are poor Ned Umber. Nailed to a wall of poor performances, turned by the Night King of a 6-13 record, and set on fire by Red Sox Nation. This is not a melodramatic assessment. Check out what David Price, the only starter who has thrown 7 shutout innings this year, has to say: David Price has been on talented teams that recovered from awful starts, as well as some that didn’t. What if the Sox don’t recover? Price: ‘We don’t play better, Mookie will be traded, JD will be traded… We need to play better. It needs to happen now.’ — Alex Speier (@alexspeier) April 18, 2019 With that in mind they start a three game series with the division leading Tampa Bay Rays tonight. They have guys performing like this all over their roster: Pitching Matchups/Schedule (TV) 4/19 – Eduardo Rodriguez vs Ryan Stanek (NESN) 4/20 – Rick Porcello vs Charlie Morton (NESN) 4/21 – David Price vs Tyler Glasnow (NESN) Notable Numbers .1835 This is the career batting average of current Rays regulars against Rodriguez (.184) and Price (.183). This is just another reminder of what the Red Sox starters are capable of if they can get their heads screwed on straight. The Red Sox have very few at bats against Stanek, but have hit .381 against him. They have a...

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Blake Swihart DFA’d

Why? Why? Sandy Leon is hitting .120 in Pawtucket, after hitting .177 last year. Christian Vazquez is hitting .195, and has let too many balls get past him this year. Blake Swihart was only hitting .231, but the Sox went 3-3 in his starts at catcher. Blake Swihart was not the problem with this team. Blake Swihart will be a starting catcher in the majors, and the Red Sox will rue the day they ever let him go for the sad sack current stable of catchers. Share this: View the original article on Red Sox Extra: Blake Swihart...

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Red Sox-Yankees Series Preview

When the Red Sox and Yankees usually meet it is a contest of an immovable object vs an unstoppable force. In this case the immovable object is a losing record for both teams, the unstoppable force injury on one side and mediocrity on the other. The Yankee injuries include Stanton, Severino, Gregroious, Betances, Sanchez, Hicks and Andujar. That’s an All Star team. Not for nothing, but Aaron Judge seems like the only important piece not injured. They’re record is 6-9 and there’s a very good reason for it. And then there is the 6-11 Red Sox. If I have to hear ‘It’s early’ one more time I might just burn one of my many Red Sox towels. The ravens have flown, it is officially spring. This team is sleep walking right now and it has to stop. On to the preview: Image per Larry Brown Sports Pitching Matchups/Schedule (TV) 4/16 Chris Sale vs James Paxton 6:35 NESN 417 Nathan Eovaldi vs J.A. Happ 6:35 ESPN Notable Numbers 1.93: That is the ERA for both Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi against the Yankees in the last three years. They’re certified Yankee killers. Could this be just what the doctor ordered to get these guys on track? Who can say? Against Paxton, J.D. Martinez should continue his hot start to the season. He’s hit .500 against Paxton in his career. Both...

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Stop It: Chris Sale Will Be Fine

All over the airwaves I’m hearing concern about Chris Sale. His velocity was the lowest of his career last start. You can’t pay Frank Tanana or Jamie Moyer or Koji Uehara $30 Million a year. He’s got to be injured. Would the Red Sox let Chris Sale pitch if he were injured? Not a chance. They shut him down the whole second half last year because of shoulder discomfort. Every single pitcher in baseball has shoulder discomfort. Cora and his merry men would not risk Sale’s health. Here is Sale’s career broken down by month from Baseball Reference: The first thing you notice is he usually starts out slightly slow. Yes, his record is sterling, but his ERA and strikeout ability are down. The second thing you notice is the sweet spot for Sale’s performance in terms of pure stuff is June and July. Best ERAs, best SO/W. The third thing you notice is he has a losing record in September and October. He still strikes guys out, but he also walks a few more, which leads to more runs and a higher ERA. By the time he reaches the playoffs, Sale’s ERA balloons to 5.76. Cora is trying to convince Sale to change June and July to September and October and the playoffs. This is a big change for Chris Sale, so they’re figuring it out. We’ll find...

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Alex Cora Solved The Red Sox Puzzle Yesterday. He Should Keep It Up

This is one of those times as a Red Sox fan and follower that feels so familiar and foreign all at once. It’s like a long lost thought from limbo in Inception. When one win seems like the glorious sound of God, coming down like a lightning rod. This Red Sox puzzle seems to make no sense. The team won 108 last year, it’s the same team, what is happening? There is trouble. There’s the World Series hangover effect, there’s concern about contracts. And Alex Cora and his staff have their plans that they want to stick to for long term success. What to do when the team isn’t winning? Play every game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. Pitchers Five pitchers. In one sense it was a bullpen game. In another it was no different than many games this year when the starter only goes three innings. The difference was Velazquez put up zeroes. Cora needs to do more of this. Keep the pitchers accountable. Every win is important right now or there won’t be a playoffs. Motivate the pitchers to get over their malaise and focus on every pitch in any way possible. Once these guys get on track the bullpen can rest. Most of the starters have their money. Take innings away from them before they blow up, not after. Little did we know...

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Red Sox Confused, Worried, Anxious

Have you ever been in a workplace where one person was promoted while another was passed over? Have you ever lost out to someone else when pursuing the same romantic connection? Have you ever worried about your future? The impending deadline for many Red Sox contracts is the elephant in the room. Here are the dynamics. Chris Sale Chris Sale got a hefty 5 year $150 Million extension. In the abstract this is a great deal. Sale is an all time pitcher for many reasons, and it’s only the 37th ranked deal in major league history. Considering how good Sale has been, and how most of the top deals are happening now, it was a nice job by Dombrowski. If everything was going well, if the team was even .500, Sale’s slow start would be no big deal. He’s taking it slow. He’s really just had his third spring training start. He’ll be throwing 99 in September and October. But things are not going well. Which opens the door for 2nd guessing. And not just by the media and fans. Xander Bogaerts Again, in a vacuum, a great deal. He’s only tied for #62 on the all time list. And he’s four years younger than Sale, and repped by Scott Boras. He’s a two time champ playing a premium position and one of the top Shortstops in the game....

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Red Sox Opening Day – A Wake Up Call

Well that was a dud. Chris Sale was bad, the bullpen was bad, the bats only managed 4 runs in a 12-4 loss. But this isn’t about injury, and it’s not about punching holes in the teams’ talent. This was a wake up call for a team coming off arguably the most historic season in it’s 117 year history. Chris Sale Yesterday we pointed to Chris Sale’s velocity to see if he was on board with the plan to take it easy. Thanks to Brooks Baseball we can see that his average four seam fastball traveled at 92.9 MPH. That is exactly where he needs to be in order to both last the season without breaking down, and be effective. Tony Massarotti points out that Sale averaged 94 MPH on his four seamer last April, and he went 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA then. This is a new world for Sale. His whole life he has given 100% all the time. The Red Sox are asking him to dial it back so he’s in peak form for the playoffs. He’s being asked to be the Ace of the Boston Red Sox. He has a new contract. There is a lot on his shoulders. We know he gets it, he’s accountable, he’s passionate. The Bullpen The bullpen went 5 innings and gave up 4 earned runs. That’s not good. They’re...

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Red Sox – Mariners 2019 Season Opening Series Preview

The defending champs face off against a stripped down Seattle Mariners team in a four game series starting today in Seattle. Here’s what to look for as the Red Sox kick off the 2019 season. Pitching Matchups/Schedule (TV) 3/28 Chris Sale vs Marco Gonzalez 7:10pm ESPN/NESN 3/29 Nathan Eovaldi vs Yusei Kikuchi 10:10pm NESN 3/30 Eduardo Rodriguez vs Mike Leake 9:10pm NESN 3/31 Rick Porcello vs Wade LeBlanc 4:10pm NESN Notable Numbers Rookie Yusei Kikuchi pitched well in his Major League debut in his Japanese homeland last week, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) in 4.1 Innings against the A’s. Long time watchers of the Sox know this team can struggle against pitchers they see for the first time. This could be a very interesting match-up, because Nathan Eovaldi went 2-6 with a 5.14 ERA on the road last year. Chris Sale had an insane .766 WHIP on the road last year (just another Bugs Bunny number from 2018), going 8-2 in those situations. But the most important number will be his average fastball velocity. A low 90s number means he’s on track, high 90’s (on average) means there isn’t a plan for his long term health, 80s may signal shoulder weakness. J.D. Martinez has 2 Home Runs and hit .384 against the three Mariners starters he’s seen. Edwin Encarnacion could be trouble. In 86 career at bats against the...

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